Movies

Movies

Tue
31
Jan

21st Century Kids Meddle With Ancient Evil In Estonian Dark Comedy 'Kratt'

Twenty-first century children are becoming more tech-savvy at a younger age than at any point in history. Yet the constant exposure to smartphones, tablets, social media and online video game platforms can and does have detrimental effects on childhood development. Eye strain, obesity, reduced sleep quality, increased feelings of inadequacy and anxiety, depression, cyberbullying, poor face-to-face social skills and an over-reliance on search bars and web browsers to glean information have all been cited as negative factors of the digital age in pediatric studies.

Mon
02
Jan

Vote for the Best of 2022

Best of 2022

Another year has come and gone, and it's time to look back once more to determine what the prior year brought us that was good. Critical Blast will be taking votes now through the end of January 2023 for you, our readers. to make your voice known as to what you thought was the best in movies, television, and comics. You're not limited to the nominations -- we leave an opening in every category for you to put in the title or name that you think is best suited to each category.

So make your selections. Share with your friends. Campaign for your favorites. We will tabulate the votes in February and place the order for the trophy medallions (yes, the winner in each catalog gets a physical trophy, not just online bragging rights, so your vote will actually mean something tangible).

Mon
19
Dec

Black Adam: Rock Headlines DCEU Film That is Both Exciting -- and Meaningless

Black Adam

This week sees the release of WB's Black Adam to the HBO Max streaming service, something which I've been looking forward to seeing ever since the post-credit scene was leaked from theaters to the Internet.

Dwayne Johnson takes the role of the titular Black Adam, a precursor to Captain Marvel (the original one, who says "Shazam") by about 5000 years. In the comics, Teth Adam was selected by the wizards to weild the power of their champion, but the power corrupted him and they imprisoned him. In this 2022 film adaptation, the story gets a tweak which is important to the plot so I won't detail it here for those who have yet to see the film. It's an acceptable twist, and it helps make the character be a little more understandable.

Fri
25
Nov

Terror Films 'The Castle' Is One Stop Through Horror's Backcountry Every Viewer Should Avoid

In the old (and current, for that matter) Hollywood order, any path towards bringing a script to completion followed a very narrow and arduous trail through an inflexible system concerned not with creative expression but the All-Mighty Box Office Return. Simple, dumbed-down affairs that appeal to the lowest common denominator and widest possible audience is continually favored over individualistic celluloid statements meant to provoke genuine emotion or thought. How many times has the complaint arisen that major studios crank out soulless, CGI-bolstered popcorn blockbusters to the detriment of true artistic vision? Yet the world of independent cinema has its own pitfalls: limited time, money and resources coupled with a lack of name actors presents a marketing mountain that can prove daunting to effectively climb. A solid concept, therefore, provides the surest route to winning an audience's allegiance.

Mon
21
Nov

How to Use a Video Editor to Create Movies

Using a Video Editor to Create Movies

(photo credit: Ryan Snaadt)

Modern day life is transversally moved by video, from social media platforms and their “challenges”, to the fact that most of our entertainment comes from movies and series, everything has something to do with audiovisual production. And in such context it´s only natural that more and more people are trying to create their own movies, with their personal style, and without the need to have a mega production from Hollywood behind them, just an idea and a digital camera, or even a good phone.

Sun
20
Nov

A Christmas Story Christmas a Worthy Sequel

Christmas Story Christmas

While other sequels and adaptations have been attempted for Jean Shepherd's classic "A Christmas Story," it took nearly forty years for the original cast to grow into the parts necessary for a true-to-spirit continuation to the story.

Peter Billingsley returnas as Ralph Parker, along with Scott Schwartz as Flick, RD Robb as Schwartz, and Zack Ward as Scut Farkus. Ralph and his family -- wife Sandy (Erinn Hayes) and kids Mark (River Drosche) and Julie (Julianna Layne) -- are preparing the house for Christmas and waiting for the arrival of grandma and grandpa. But when Ralph gets the phone call from his mother that the Old Man has passed, plans get changed, and Christmas gets relocated to Hohman, Indiana -- which hasn't changed a lick since the 1940s.

Thu
10
Nov

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Is A Brilliant Goodbye to Chadwick Boseman

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever starts officially on 11/11/22 though your mileage may vary.

If you follow the Marvel Cinematic Universe closely enough, you'll see stories on the internet about some big shot director or another complaining about how MCU maestro Kevin Fiege takes away the director's freedom to tell the tale they wanted to tell. These directors typically are not and have never been attached to an MCU movie and probably are just whining because their features haven't come close to what a typical Marvel movie does at the box office. They also must not be watching Ryna Coogler's Black Panther films, because the first film, starring the late great Chadwick Boseman, was a revelation both in terms of the MCU and African American pop culture. WIthin days if not hours of the first film's release in 2018, video testimonials were popping up all over social media with folks offering up moving, deeply personal testimonials about the importance of having a relatable black superhero on the big screen at last.

Fri
04
Nov

Red Water Entertainment/Jackpot Films' 'The Sleep Experiment' Is A Dark Depiction Of Humankind's Unsettling Inhumanity

Sleep is one of the essential mysteries of existence. Each evening our bodies are compelled to shut down; our mental capacity slows, our muscles paralyze, and we wander unfettered through the shadowy dreamscapes of our subconscious. It’s estimated that fully a third of our fleeting life is spent under Morpheus’s spell; quite simply, we don’t want sleep, we need it, as surely as food and water. A good night’s rest restores the immune, nervous, skeletal and muscular systems, just as it enhances our mood, memory, sexual function and cognitive ability. Yet there exist a host of disorders--insomnia, hypersomnia, narcolepsy and sleep apnea; somnambulism, bruxism and circadian rhythm maladies--that can destroy sleep with dire consequences.

Sun
30
Oct

HBOMax's Barbarian Falls Flat

Barbarian

Directed by Zach Cregger (in his solo directorial debut), Barbarian (2022) was released this September to rave critical reviews and became the sleeper hit of the after-summer movie, slump grossing over $42 million worldwide against a $4.5 million budget.

Recently released to HBO MAX for streaming, I finally got the chance to see what the hype was all about. Immediately, I was sucked into the opening plot: a young woman (Georgina Campbell) arrives at an Airbnb only to discover that the home was already rented out by another, a stranger named Keith (Bill Skarsgård). Having nowhere else to go, she stays at the rental property with him and strange things start to happen.

Tue
25
Oct

The Marvel of Marvel: Ranking the Six Best Movies in the MCU

Quantumania

It’s now more than three years since Marvel released Avengers: Endgame, and in doing so, the MCU showed just how much potential they had at their fingertips as the climatic end to the Avengers series went on to become the second-highest grossing movie of all time.

Just over two months later, they brought an end to phase three of the Marvel series with Spider-Man: Far from Home, and there will have been many wondering what would happen next with the film series, given that key characters, and the actors that brought them so expertly to life, were saying farewell.

Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans waved goodbye to their exploits as Iron Man and Captain America, and producer Kevin Feige set in motion a plethora of new projects for both the big and small screen.

Tue
18
Oct

Familiarity Doesn't Destroy Millman Productions/Sandaled Kid Productions Latest Horror Effort 'Sawed Off'

It's been said that, creatively speaking, there are no new ideas. To a certain extent the hypothesis is valid: every artistically inclined soul, whether they be a painter, sculptor, musician, writer or filmmaker, is only the sum of one's individual tastes in their given medium. Just as Plato was influenced by his mentor Socrates, so did Plato's philosophical musings mold his own student Aristotle; blues guitarist Muddy Waters impacted early rock gods Eric Clapton and The Rolling Stones, who in turn impressed future generations of musicians; even weird-lit icon H.P. Lovecraft, whose inspiration affected untold imaginative minds, was self-admittedly a product of boyhood admiration for Edgar Allan Poe and Lord Dunsany. In this theory of artistic evolution what appears to be innovation (the abstract art of Marcel Duchamp or Picasso, for instance), is merely an opposing reaction against previous established trends rather than any stylistic revolution.

Thu
06
Oct

Director Shawn Burkett's 'Don't Fuck In The Woods 2' Is Trashy, Brainless Horror Fun

The splatter subgenre's ascendancy in the early '80's represented a monumental shift in movie horror. Where once fear films relied on suggestion, atmosphere and carefully crafted Hitchcockian dread to propel their plots, newer motion pictures such as Dawn of the Dead, Friday the 13th, Cannibal Holocaust, Maniac, The Burning, The Evil Dead, Gates of Hell and A Nightmare on Elm Street eschewed innuendo in favor of explicitly visceral depictions of graphic sex and even more graphic violence. Rooted in Grand Guignol's lurid theatrical lynchings, the '60's low-budget camp-fests of gimmick kings Roger Corman, H.G. Lewis and William Castle and the exploitative shock tactics of underground '70's grindhouse cinema, this tsunami of celluloid usurpers worried parents, teachers and moral pundits the world over just as they enthralled a younger generation eager for the new movement's ostentatious freedoms.

Tue
30
Aug

The Wit Wears Thin In Gravitas Ventures' 'The Day After Halloween'

Ahhhh, Halloween. Trick or treating and jack-o'-lanterns. Bloody spatter flicks at the local bijou and black cats crossing your path. That modern day inheritor of the Gaelic festival Samhain has evolved through the long centuries to rank second only to Christmas as the largest and most widely celebrated holiday in the United States, and for no small reason: according to the National Retail Federation, Americans spent a record $10.14 Billion in 2021 (an average per person of $102.74), on an ever-escalating array of spooky supplies--costumes, candy, cards, decorations, props, make-up, party favors, accessories--that have transformed the autumnal season into an economic juggernaut. It's a time that allows even the meekest among us get in touch with their inner ghoul, but what happens the following morning, when Dracula has retired to his coffin, all the apples have been bobbed and the sugar rush runs dry? What if your monster mash goes just a little too far?

Sun
07
Aug

Terror Films' 'I Dream Of A Psychopomp' Is Well Crafted But Unfocused Effort

Psychopomp [siko`pamp], n. (in Greek mythology): 1. a guide of souls to the place of the dead 2. the spiritual guide of a living person's soul

Of all the universal mysteries, none equals death. What occurs to each of us in that moment when our hearts cease to beat and our lungs no longer draw breath is the central enigma of life itself, the source of more rumination than any other subject and the crux of every religious ideology known to humankind. For in the cessation of life, the question remains: does it continue? Do our individual personalities--our loves, our hates, our passions--survive to transition to another realm of existence?

Tue
26
Jul

Baz Luhrmann Brings Elvis Back to Life

Elvis movie

Image by Capital Dudes from Pixabay 

Thu
07
Jul

Marvel Goes Rom-Com with Thor: Love and Thunder

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there may not be a more polarizing sub-franchise than the Thor films. Director Kenneth Branagh did a good job with the first film, but played it mostly safe and straightforward, leaving the levity to a few sight gags where Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is shown as a stranger in a strange land. That was probably the correct approach for the early days of the MCU. Thor: The Dark World, attempted to be darker in tone under the direction of Alan Taylor, who was better known for his work in television. It didn't quite succeed and I found the overuse of Stellan Skarsgård as Erik Selvig and Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis watered down the threat of the Dark Elves--who themselves weren't the most menacing of foes--with comic relief that never resonated with me. 

Mon
20
Jun

Small Town Monsters' American Werewolves Provides Frightful And Thought-Provoking Exploration Of The Cryptid Phenomenon

Each year dozens of encounters with upright canids are reported in North America. Many reports recount a creature that is aggressive, ghastly and disturbing. While many theorize that the dogman is some sort of unidentified species of animal, many believe they were confronted by something else. Something more. A being that bent the very boundaries of reality itself and had stepped into our world from beyond…

Thu
16
Jun

The Best Science Fiction Cars in Film

Photo by Jason Leung

photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

Mon
13
Jun

Terror Films' Scare Zone Is Breath Of Fresh Air For Horror Fans

Evolving from the carnival fun houses, wax museums and gory Grand Guignol theater of times past, the first recorded haunted house intended to separate fun-loving All Hallow's Eve ghouls from their hard-earned pocket change was the Orton and Spooner Ghost House, which opened in 1915 in Liphook, England, and served as the inspirational template for the explosion of such attractions during the first half of the 20th century. With an estimated 2,000 Halloween-oriented establishments catering annually to over twelve million thrill-seeking customers in the United States alone, those quaint early seasonal sites have diversified into a myriad of more complex spooktacular destinations, from the commercialized screamparks, haunted hayrides, cornfield mazes and Christian-run 'Hell Houses' to the interactive yard attractions favored by eclectic suburban neighbors, the popularity of purpose-built haunted attractions is undeniable.

Fri
10
Jun

Jurassic World: Dominion Provides Exhilarating Action And Expositional Slumber In Equal Measure

Jurassic World: Dominion is the sixth installment of the beloved dinosaur action-adventure franchise that has cost $714 million – including this film – to make and has earned over $5 billion dollars to date before this one opens in the U.S. market. It's safe to say that's an excellent return on investment. But more important to most moviegoers than the bottom line of any film’s final financials is the joy we all get from seeing these giant long extinct dinosaurs thrash and rampage wherever they wish on the biggest theater movie screens in town. Seeing these monstrous lizards instantly refills the viewer with our childhood love of these terrible beasts that we all seemed to share in our collective youth. I know I certainly would have liked to have been a paleontologist, long before I could even spell that word.

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